Experiential Learning in a Summer Program: Engaging Undergraduate Students in STEM Research Experience

  • Hamideh Talafian (Drexel University)
  • Tamara Galoyan (Drexel University)
  • Penny L. Hammrich
  • Leslie Lamberson


This study explored experiential learning opportunities for undergraduate students in the area of energy and environment as part of a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded Research Experience for Undergraduate students (xREU). This summer research project was conducted in a private university located in the northeastern United States. Since the primary objective of the xREU program was to attract students from non-research-intensive universities to interdisciplinary research, the program was specifically designed to address the development of key learning and working skills that will serve participants throughout their careers. Using several instruments (including the National Engineering Students’ Learning Outcomes Survey [NESLOS], a survey administered biweekly, and a 24-item demographic questionnaire), we collected both qualitative and quantitative data. The results showed that, overall, participants’ content knowledge and other related skills were enhanced over the summer through experiential learning opportunities. At the beginning of the program, most students learned more about conducting an experiment from their coursework learning, whereas toward the end of the program they learned more from their engineering service experiences.

Keywords: Education, Experiential Learning, STEM

How to Cite:

Talafian, H., Galoyan, T., Hammrich, P. & Lamberson, L., (2019) “Experiential Learning in a Summer Program: Engaging Undergraduate Students in STEM Research Experience”, Summer Academe: A Journal of Higher Education 12. doi:

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Published on
04 Sep 2019
Peer Reviewed